Just a month before the UEFA Champions League tie between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, which is already going to be a clash of titans, one player for the Spanish giants has decided to turn the temperature up a notch.
Federico Valverde has poked fun at PSG’s Lionel Messi by emulating his most iconic FC Barcelona goal celebration, clearly intended to wind up both the legendary Argentine superstar and fans of his former club.
Tight El Clásico Encounter
Real Madrid claimed the bragging rights in their latest El Clásico victory against FC Barcelona, clinching a 3-2 victory against their most bitter of rivals. On this occasion, it was in the semi-finals of the Supercopa de España, currently hosted in Saudi Arabia.
Brazilian forward Vinícius Júnior gave Real Madrid the advantage after 25 minutes at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, although towering Dutch striker Luuk de Jong leveled the game just before the stroke of half-time.
French international Karim Benzema restored the Real Madrid lead on 72 minutes, only for Spanish prodigy Ansu Fati to draw Barcelona level once again at 2-2, just before the ninety minutes were up. Extra time would be needed to separate these eternal foes.
Little more than eight minutes into the additional half hour of play, Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde scored what proved to be the winning goal, earning his team passage to the final at the expense of Barcelona.
“We dominated in many phases,” lamented Barcelona boss Xavi Hernández after the game, convinced his team had been the better team. Nevertheless, in further post-match comments via MARCA, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti denied that was the case.
“It was an even match,” the Italian underlined, insisting that “nobody dominated” the game overall. Indeed, this was a typical blood and thunder El Clásico encounter that could have gone either way, which Real Madrid narrowly edged against a resurgent-looking Barcelona side.
Legendary Level Taunting
Most of the headlines in Spain were dominated by just one image after the action in Saudi Arabia had concluded between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Having applied the winning finish, 23-year-old Federico Valverde appeared to know immediately how he would celebrate.
The Uruguayan wheeled away after scoring the winner, tore off his shirt and held it aloft before the fans. This was clearly his way of emulating one of the most iconic El Clásico goal celebrations, produced by none other than former Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
On 23 April 2017 during a phenomenal match between these two Spanish rivals, Barcelona grabbed a dramatic 3-2 victory against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu, as Lionel Messi scored the winner deep into stoppage time.
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) April 23, 2021
What happened next was splashed across the front pages of newspapers around the world. Not only had Messi decided El Clásico, but Messi had also registered his 500th official goal with Barcelona and on the home turf of their eternal enemies Real Madrid.
Messi rushed towards the touchline and having removed his famous number 10 shirt, defiantly and proudly held it aloft right in front of the Real Madrid fans. According to one theory via GOAL, this may have been inspired by Ronaldinho, who did the same thing in a Classique win against Marseille in 2002.
Whatever reason prompted Messi’s iconic 2017 El Clásico celebration, we can be fairly certain that Valverde was mocking him and Barcelona, maybe perhaps even Les Parisiens. That would certainly be one way to add some extra spice, ahead of the upcoming Champions League ties.
PSG Remain Favorites
Regardless of how Real Madrid earned an important Supercopa de España victory, no matter the fact it came against Barcelona, and while they are also comfortably clear at the top of LaLiga, the bookies remain convinced that PSG will emerge victorious in their Champions League duels.
Cutting through the noise and reviewing all the leading sites, the latest SBO sports betting guide compares all the most reputable bookmakers, providing ratings based on the value of odds and promotions offered. Certainly worth checking, before backing either team.
Amongst the leading online bookies, PSG is tipped at between 1.90 and 2.00 odds to beat Real Madrid, when they meet Real Madrid at Parc des Princes on 15 March. Likewise, odds between 1.61 and 1.81 value PSG as favorites to progress in the Champions League, over the two legs. Whatever the outcome, this tie will certainly have us glued to our screens.